FIA Report – “Main Event” Season Opener from England!

Sandwiched between two rain fronts the first round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championships ran for three of four days not only on a brand new race surface but under clear blue skies, warm sunshine and a huge crowd of enthusiasts. Several new European records were set in both Pro Mod and Pro Stock classes as well as a stunner in FIM Super Street Bike. Santa Pod Raceway held an official unveiling of a stone memorial dedicated to the World War II air crews of the 92nd Bomb Group of the US 8th Air Force that were stationed at Podington Airfield (now Santa Pod Raceway) from 1942 till 1945. Several flypasts by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight consisting of a Lancaster Bomber, a Spitfire along with a Hurricane then an American P51 Mustang brought the international crowds to their feet in respect.

Pre-race included this ultra cool Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly by! 2

Pre-race included this ultra cool Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly by!

FIA Top Fuel was dominated by the Finns who had four cars entered with the other three coming from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Surprise was Champion Risto Poutiainen who no-showed with problems in round one but getting to the all Finland final was Anita Mäkelä who ran a flawless 4.295/269 defeating Sweden’s Micke Kågered 6.110/112 then a 4.340/259 saw off number one qualifier (4.102/281) Norway’s Thomas Nataas. Number three in the qualifying list was Finland’s Antti Horto who had an easy round one win as he should have faced Risto Poutiainen a 7.694/81 was all that was needed before a close duel with Denmark’s Stig Neergaard, a 4.243/248 on a holeshot got the win over a chasing 4.230/274. The final had Anita Mäkelä seemingly asleep on the line as Antti Horto stormed off to clinch the win with a 4.152/272 to a losing 4.334/263.

Finnish racers dominated Top Fuel at Santa Pod with Antti Horto emerging as the winner.

Finnish racers dominated Top Fuel at Santa Pod with Antti Horto emerging as the winner.

FIA Top Methanol Dragster unfortunately experienced a paucity of entries apparently due to finances and differences of opinion on class rules on blown and injected cars. Just two cars ran with Norway’s Paul Ingar Udtian returning to drive after a year off and England’s Tethys jumped from Sportsman ET into hiring Dave Wilson’s injected TMD. Tethys performed well running a top qualifier of 5.527/260 then going on to beat Udtian in the run-off, 5.580/257 to a losing 5.769/214.

England's Tethys won the TMD program.

England’s Tethys won the TMD program.

FIA Top Methanol Funny Car was all about a new ride for Swede Leif Andréasson who took delivery hours before the event but then took pole with a 5.581/256 and going all the way to the event win. A solo 5.566/253 was Andréasson’s opener as Brit Stephanie Milam had broken, then another solo as Rob Turner succumbed to broken parts. Meeting Andréasson on the money run would be Johan Lindberg coming from Pro Mod to join his brother Johnnie both running recently imported Monte Carlo cloaked machines. Round one had the new boy Johan take out his sibling Johnnie with a 5.620/250 to a 6.075/233 lose, then a tyre bouncing 6.012/209 beat another new to class and fellow Swede Adam Flamholc who usually runs Pro Mod in the US, a shaking 7.610/149 losing. The final saw Leif Andréasson storm off as Johan Lindberg shook and got a little crossed up, a 5.712/254 took the trophy as the loser limped in with an 11.302/63.

Leif Andréasson from Sweden prevailed in the TMFC class.

Leif Andréasson from Sweden prevailed in the TMFC class.

FIA Pro Stock was a total Swedish affair with six cars lead by Jimmy Ålund with a European record setting 6.568/211.07 taking the ET and speed to sit on the top spot. Ålund not content with pride of place beat a red lighting Mats Jacobsson in round one then managed a lucky solo as he launched but did not cross the finish line in round two but made the final. Arch rival and current champion Thomas Lindström is now in a fight to retain his title sitting in second in qualifying then managing wins over Magnus Petersson, 6.676/206 to a troubled 11.581/75 in round one before a 6.649/260 defeat of Michael Malmgren’s 6.732/206 in the semi. The KW backed Camaro of Jimmy Ålund left Thomas Lindström on the startline with a heck of a holeshot and that coupled with a 6.655/210 into a strong headwind beat the somnolent leave by the Ernryd Cars sponsored Dodge Stratus of Lindström, his chasing 6.644/206 counting for second place.

Sweden's Jimmy Ålund reset a record while winning in Pro Stock.

Sweden’s Jimmy Ålund reset a record while winning in Pro Stock.

FIA Pro Mod saw nineteen machines vying for places in the field and lead by Netherland’s Marc Meihuizen on a 5.913/242, his first foray into the fives but his luck deserted him in round two as he was shut off with a leak against fellow countryman David Vegter who made it all the way to the finals. Vegter saw off the tyre spinning Swede Mats Eriksson in round one then in round three beat Switzerland’s number two in the ’12 championship, Bruno Bader, a 6.093/234 caught and passed Bader’s 6.186/225. Micke Gullqvist the reigning champion came from number two in the qualifiers with a new European record of 5.945 to beat England’s Graham Ellis in one and a 6.020/233 took out Brit, Andy Frost’s slowed up 9.681/97, the semis pitted Gullqvist against German, Norbert Kuno, Gullqvist chased using every inch of his lane and succeeded in getting the win light with a 6.128/222 against the losing 6.820/156. In the final David Vegter in his MPM Oils Camaro beat Micke Gullqvist in his Stavdal/Persåkers Speed Shop Camaro off the line but was reeled in as Gullqvist recorded one of his usual fives, a 5.987/241 beating the 6.106/234.

Swede Micke Gullqvist continued his winning ways on the European Pro Mod circuit.

Swede Micke Gullqvist continued his winning ways on the European Pro Mod circuit.

European Funny Car Series is a new class not in the FIA series but eagerly contested by a growing number of floppers with hopes of some American drivers coming over to compete in the future. It was lead by Brit, Gordon Smith on a 5.479/259 quarter-mile pass. It was a four car competition with Sweden’s Leif Helander facing England’s John Spuffard in the final. Helander had earlier taken out Gordon Smith in round one, 5.552/275 to a slowed up 8.472/90 and Spuffard dealing out Jason Phelps, 5.445/277 to a timing block hitting 5.698/222. In the late afternoon the final delivered a close run that went to Leif Helander on a 5.496/278 as John Spuffard was passed in the lights on his 5.460/278.

Sweden’s Leif Helander won the event's added in 4-car fuel FC feature.

Sweden’s Leif Helander won the event’s added in 4-car fuel FC feature.

Photos and posting by Roger Gorringe.

 Event Essentials:  FIA Main Event – Santa Pod, England (May 24-26th, 2013)

F.I.A.: Name ET MPH Country
Top Fuel (1000’)
Winner: Antti Horto 4.152 272.61 Finland
R/UP: Anita Mäkelä 4.334 263.84 Finland
Low ET: Thomas Nataas 4.102 Norway
Top Speed: Stig Neergaard 288.32 Denmark
Bump Spot: 5.119
Winner: Tethys 5.580 257.74 England
R/UP: Paul Ingar Udtian 5.769 214.09 Norway
Low ET: Tethys 5.527 England
Top Speed: Tethys 260.52 England
Bump Spot: N/A
Winner: Leif Andréasson 5.712 254.14 Sweden
R/UP: Johan Lindberg 11.302 63.08 Sweden
Low ET: Leif Andréasson 5.566 Sweden
Top Speed: Johan Lindberg 263.58 Sweden
Bump Spot: 7.655
Pro Modified
Winner: Micke Gullqvist 5.987 241.24 Sweden
R/UP: David Vegter 6.106 234.07 Holland
Low ET: Micke Gullqvist 5.913 Sweden
Top Speed: Micke Gullqvist 242.51 Sweden
Bump Spot: 7.566
Pro Stock
Winner: Jimmy Ålund 6.655 210.12 Sweden
R/UP: Thomas Lindström 6.644 206.99 Sweden
Low ET: Jimmy Ålund 6.568 Sweden
Top Speed: Jimmy Ålund 211.07 Sweden
Bump Spot: 6.970
Sportsman Class Winners:
Competition Andrew Hone 7.445 171.71 England
Super Gas Stuart Morrice 9.940 147.19 England
Super Comp Paul Brown 8.888 147.66 England
Super Pro ET Barry Giles 7.720 148.55 England
Jr. Dragster Brad Jackson 8.164 79.65 England